Dubai: For Saima Sadaat, a housewife living in Dubai, combining her love for flowers and baking was nothing but a dream, until she took on the challenge to make one flower cupcake at a time a reality.
Baking was an interest that was first sparked during her childhood through her mother’s hobby to bake bread, cakes, and delicious pastries. However, it gradually became Sadaat’s dream, and now her own business.
The founder of Celebrationz Sweets and Smiles, an online cupcake service, delivers cupcakes in the shape of life-like flower bouquets across the UAE.
Sadaat, who is a mother of two from Pakistan, described herself as “a simple housewife” who had no knowledge of how to run a business.
“My mother isn’t a baker but she used to love baking. We had hens at home and lots of eggs, so she would use them to develop her own recipes, which she then passed on to me,” said Sadaat.
Also experimenting in the kitchen, Sadaat tried to create her own designs when baking for her family — often attempting to create flowers with cream swirls and swivels.
Having lived in Qatar, Holland and Canada before returning to the UAE to settle down, Sadaat said she constantly involved herself in activities related to baking and design, and even mastered several classes where she learnt the skills of creating intricate cake designs.
“When I lived in Qatar, I started a small hobby business of making 3D cakes where I would carve the cake into different shapes and designs. But I eventually stopped doing that after moving to Canada as it was too time consuming,” she explained.
However, Sadaat didn’t stop exploring her skills then, and decided to start a small business shortly after landing in Canada.
“I started a Facebook page displaying the cupcake bouquets but couldn’t continue as I got pregnant shortly after. So when we found out we were coming back to Dubai over two years ago, I realised this would be the best time to start my new business,” she said
Brainstorming for unique business ideas, Sadaat considered reopening a 3D cake service, before realising her product needs to be standardised, replicated and consistent.
“I thought of revisiting the cupcake flowers, and decided it was a good idea. People often buy flowers when visiting friends and wonder if it’s not enough or if chocolates are needed — this idea is two-in-one and is a multi-purpose cake,” said Sadaat.
Determined to succeed, Sadaat began experimenting with cupcake bouquets and designs for a period of eight months she likes to refer to as “a research and development phase”.
“The results were good. After making my first bouquet, I was jumping with joy and while I was jumping, a cupcake fell down. That made me wonder if it was doable and I knew I had a lot more work to do,” she said as she chuckled.
Sadaat then began to explore a solution for every doubt she had including questions about finding the right delivery packages, standardisation, and ways to ensure the bouquet is held together.
During this time, she also began to explore displaying her cakes on social media, and was quickly contacted by an Emirati woman, who invited her to take part in an event at the Zabeel Ladies Club.
“After the first day at the event, I realised I had to quickly put up a banner clarifying that they are cupcakes not just flowers. I was also asked to prepare some bouquets to send to the royal palace. That is what pushed me to do it,” said Sadaat.
After receiving positive comments from the ruling family, Sadaat knew she had to pursue her dream and decided to officially register her company.
“We didn’t have a definite business plan — I am a housewife, and my husband has his office job — but this was mine and his adventure,” she said.
Sadaat began receiving orders and even decided to deliver the cake packages personally to clients in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
After figuring out the tedious processes of registration, marketing, and public relations procedures that come along with owning a business, Sadaat finally rented out a kitchen in Dubai, where she gradually hired and taught a team of helpers the unique skills of cupcake-flower making.
“I have learnt a lot through all these procedures, and while I don’t know what will be there tomorrow for me to learn, I can say I followed my dream,” she said.
Today, Sadaat is a businesswoman who believes that “everything is achievable if you keep going on”.
However, her ambitions didn’t stop there. Sadaat explained that while proud of her journey, she believed there was something missing.
“I felt like I should be able to help someone through my business, and knew that if I can make a difference in someone’s life, then I should reach out to women who don’t have high educational levels or have other limitations,” she explained.
Sadaat has hired several helpers who she has taught a variety of baking skills and is currently teaching English.
“I wanted them to have the same feeling of achievement that I do by teaching them something new, and I plan to gradually hire more women in the same situation,” added Sadaat.